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New Zealand to Use 'Saliva Test' as another Step to Prevent Coronavirus Spread


New Zealand has taken strong steps to prevent the rising coronavirus cases.The country is now suffering an increase in covid cases even after they achieved a milestone of 102 days without any virus transmission. Following that restrictions have reimposed and they even postponed the election too.

Now a new diagnostic test using saliva called SalivaDirect test has been playing a major role in the fight of New Zealanders against coronavirus.

This  rapid diagnostic test for novel coronavirus infection that uses saliva samples was granted an emergency use authorisation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 15.

Aucklander Dr Anne Wyllie, based at the Yale School of Public Health in Connecticut, led research which found saliva samples may be more sensitive to detecting Covid-19 than the invasive “gold standard” nasal swab tests.

FDA Approves Rapid, Inexpensive 'Saliva Test' for Coronavirus--Accuracy & Advantages

Dr Anne Wyllie is a Kiwi scientist working at Yale University's School of Public Health, and is involved with cutting-edge science using saliva to diagnose Covid-19, rather than nasal swabs.

Research involving a Kiwi scientist at Yale University in the U.S. found saliva could be more sensitive to testing for SARS-CoV-2 than nasal swabs. It is less invasive, simpler, faster and uses fewer substances.

The current “gold standard” for detecting SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This tests for the genetic material of the virus, and is performed most commonly on a swab taken from the nose and throat, or sputum (mucus from the lungs).

The saliva test is a simple and an inexpensive test, which also avoids a key step that has caused shortages of chemical reagents used in other tests, can test approximately 90 samples in fewer than three hours in a lab.

In New Zealand, more than 657,500 of these tests have been carried out since January.

However, research released by Wyllie's team in April showed they could detect Covid-19 in saliva from people who repeatedly tested negative using nasal swabs.

Dr Nikki Freed, senior lecturer at Massey University held border workers up as an “excellent group of people” to use “rapid, minimally invasive techniques such as SalivaDirect” in, as they require repeated testing.

Freed described the process as simpler and faster than more invasive nasal swabs.

“Asking staff who work at the managed isolation and quarantine facilities to submit a saliva sample each day, or every few days, along with routine temperature checks and health questionnaires, could be a way to frequently screen these workers without causing them too much discomfort,” she said.

With regard to ESR looking at the use of SalivaDirect in New Zealand, the Ministry spokesperson said “it is still in the early stages”.

“We will be able to provide more information once this has progressed.”

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